Jimmy Marohn Jr. has been making a name for himself in the state of New York, but Saturday night he'll be looking to establish himself on the sport's biggest stage at Mohawk. Marohn Jr., 32, has been driving race horses for over 12 years, but in the $457,500 Fan Hanover Stakes, on the Pepsi North America Cup undercard, he will have the biggest drive of his career, leaving from post three with elimination winner Table Talk.
Marohn Jr. has been around the sport his entire life. His father Jimmy Marohn Sr. has been a prominent driver for decades in New York and New Jersey and his son Jimmy grew up by his side.
"I grew up around the horses, my dad had a barn when I was really small and he primarily catch drove at Roosevelt and Yonkers and I was always around the barn,” said Marohn Jr. "We had moved to New Jersey and then I was about five minutes from the Meadowlands and I got to cut my teeth on the backstretch there growing up.”
Marohn Sr. has won over 5,000 races in his career and he recorded many of his best seasons while his son was growing up.
Marohn Jr. always had the itch for racing, but knew for sure when he was a teenager, becoming a driver was the career path for him.
"I was always into sports my whole life,” said Marohn Jr. "but I would say about my later part of high school was when I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
Last year, he captured his third straight Tioga Downs driving title and won the $25,000 Tioga/Vernon Drivers Challenge against the top reinsman in the sport.
A regular work week for Marohn Jr. is driving at Monticello Raceway Monday to Thursday and racing at Tioga Downs Friday to Sunday. The seven-day work week is tough on Marohn Jr. and his family, he admits.
"I'm on the road a lot, I'm home during the week, but then on the weekends I'll go up to Tioga,” said Marohn Jr. "Being away from the family is tough; my wife and I just had a daughter and it's tough to be away from her right now.”
In the Fan Hanover elimination, Marohn Jr. and Table Talk registered a 37-1 shocker. He noted his filly had some issues off the gate, but once she settled down at the quarter pole he knew he had a chance.
"Going to the five-eighths when the flow started I was still sitting last and gapped about a length and a half. I was just kind of scoping things out to see what I was going to do, go into the flow or just sit the wood,” said Marohn Jr. "I decided to sit the wood going into the last turn and watching Precocious (Beauty) through the last turn when Doug (McNair) started to call on her she really didn't look like she stepped up too well…I still had the out where I could have went to the outer tier and just coming off the last turn that's what I did and my filly, she really likes to sprint and that's just what she did.”
The drive in the elimination was Marohn Jr.'s first time racing at Mohawk.The victory made his first trip to Mohawk extra sweet, but also gave him the valuable opportunity to select his post position for the final. Marohn Jr. knows the final will be tough, but is thrilled to have the chance to race in it.
"They are all good. You can't take anything away from Uffizi Hanover. She won the Breeders Crown last year, she's an all out nice filly and you know just to be in with these horses is an honor.”
Race 9 - Fan Hanover Stakes Final - Purse: $457,500
1. Nat A Virgin - Rick Zeron
2. Uffizi Hanover - David Miller
3. Table Talk - Jimmy Marohn Jr.
4. Take That Hanover - Mike Saftic
5. Bahama Blue - Mario Baillargeon
6. Mamas Fallen Angel - Yannick Gingras
7. Fancy Desire - Ron Pierce
8. Rock N Roll Xample - James MacDonald
9. Major Dancer - Brian Sears
10. Beach Gal - Tim Tetrick
AE. Lady Shadow - Brian Sears